Rich Rodriguez no Longer Coach of the Michigan Wolverines

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It was a long December for Rich Rodriguez, but there was reason to believe that 2011 would be better than 2010. What appeared to be a winnable bowl game against Mississippi State loomed and, though Michigan had their problems this season, it certainly looked as though Rodriguez would be around for next year and a few after that.

The light was at the end of the tunnel.

Then the 2011 Gator Bowl started.

You could say Rodriguez had a good 12 hours or so in 2011, I suppose….


By Paul Schmidt

(Update: 1-4-11 1:30 CT, Fox 2 Detroit reports that RichRod is officially gone)

This was Michigan’s first bowl in a few years, so there are some mixed feelings among the Michigan fan base as well as the administration. Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon admitted as much when he said he wanted to wait until after the bowl season to reevaluate Rodriguez and his coaching staff. And he was right to do so, because with five extra weeks of practice, it would be imperative to see just what Rodriguez and his staff could do to improve his squad, especially on defense.

The answer was, unfortunately for Rodriguez, very, very little.

The defense spent most of the day looking gawd-awful, allowing Mississippi State’s offense to convert 9-of-17 attempts on third down, and in general do whatever they wanted on the field.

The more disappointing performance was certainly offered by the Wolverine offense, who couldn’t muster up much of an effort at all. The strength of this Michigan team managed just two touchdowns, and none after the first quarter, allowing an astonishing 42 points from the Bulldogs to go unanswered.

Obviously, the Michigan defense showed no improvement at all (disappointing, yes, but a complete surprise given the ineptness of Greg Robinson all season long), but for the offense, which has had to carry the team all season long, to not be able to answer any of Mississippi State’s drives is inexcusable.

Prior to the bowl game it appeared unlikely that Rodriguez would be let go. There would be an overhaul of his coaching staff (much like the one Ron Zook and Illinois went through prior to this season), but his job would be safe for one more season.

Now, however, after his squad looked wholly unprepared to play hopscotch, let alone football, even after five weeks of extra practice, Rodriguez’s fate was sealed.

Expect Dave Brandon to reach out to Jim Harbaugh as soon as possible to gauge his interest, but his lack of movement towards a head coach has really handcuffed him. At this point, it’s Harbaugh or nothing at all, which is unfortunate for Michigan and Brandon because so many NFL jobs are calling, with the San Francisco 49’ers expected to be at the forefront.

Should Brandon whiff on Harbaugh — not even that outlandish of a possibility — what does he do?

One thing is definitely certain — expect the rumor mill to run wild for the next three or four days with coaching candidates for this just now available coaching position.

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Comments

  1. You make a great point; it’s not the defensive performance that was disappointing. It was the complete lack of offense.

    I didn’t expect Greg Robinson and Co. to become TCU-quality in five weeks. But for someone who is supposed to be an offensive genius, which is the only part about RichRod that makes him worth keeping, he swung and missed on the offensive side of the ball.

    Five weeks to prepare for a game and that’s all you can do? To be fair, Steve Spurrier is supposed to be an offensive genius and South Carolina did next to nothing after five weeks of prep.

    Bowls can be misleading.

    But the circumstances off the field, especially anger from alums with deep pockets, make it very tough to keep RichRod. Now, if Harbaugh is unavailable, you can’t really fire RichRod because there is no one out there worth getting.

  2. paulmbanks says

    true bowls can be misleading, because they are in essence glorified exhibition games. But still fun to watch and important.

    Nicely done! enjoyed the Counting Crows reference

  3. This is situation completely of Brandon’s making. I never understood the decision to make everyone wait. If Harbaugh isn’t interested, and they fire RR…I think the most attractive coach on the market is….uhhh…RR. That’s a biiiiiig problem.

    Or, am I reading the situation wrong? Do they NOT need to make a splash with their next hiring and go after someone like (gulp) Paul Petrino? That’s my worst-cast-scenario from my point of view…

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